Slade, Inc., of Statesville, North Carolina, manufactures fluid sealing products for industrial equipment, specifically pumps. It particularly serves the steam, nuclear and water hydro-electric plants; pulp and paper mills; and petrochemical and oil and gas industries.
Although exports are a great source of wealth for many small businesses, international sales provide an array of threats to a company's financial health. International distributers often expect to but on open-credit terms; while these can allow a seller to be more competitive, global customers do not always pay on time for the products they bought. This results in a loss of working capital for the U.S. -based seller.
The company has been using the Bank's small business export credit insurance to offer open account terms to its international customers rather than requiring them to pay cash-in-advance. The policy typically covers about $1 million in exports annually, with Taiwan, Italy and South Africa as its primary markets.
When Slade started with EXIM in 1997, it had minimal international sales experience. In 2011, exports comprised 65% of the company's total sales. As a result, Slade was able to expand business operations and hire more people. Exports have risen about 10 percent each year and support more than half of the company's 30 employees. The Bank has supported $2.6 million of Slade's exports from 2013 to 2018.